Everything is bigger in Texas. The houses, hair and charisma are larger than life, but that doesn’t mean you have to drop big bills when you visit. There’s loads of fun to be had in the Lone Star State without spending a dime.
Here deep in the heart of Texas, there are more than 17,000 acres of park and 61 miles of bike and jogging trails to conquer. The cityscape itself is an art show, with public masterpieces scattered around downtown. An average of 232 days a year are filled with sunshine, all of this at no cost to you.
Make the most out of your time in Dallas, without dipping into your wallet once by visiting these free attractions:
f11photo | ShutterstockCity Hall |
If it’s architecture that catches your eye, make a trip to Dallas’ City Hall. You can’t miss it with its asymmetrical construction, a design made by I.M Pei, whom also created the glass pyramids of The Louvre Museum in Paris. This strategic inclined façade is made to provide protection from the weather and the Texas sun that beats down.
A stroll through the block it covers reveals a fountain and reflecting pool, which contains sculptures by the artist Marta Pan. Nearby you’ll also find the modernist figurines created by artist Henry Moore.
For more of I.M Pei’s work, visit the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. He had a hand in this impressive work as well, and the structure also offers hour-long tours of the building for free. Keep your eye peeled throughout for the famous masterpieces that are dispersed, the Dallas highlights being an Andy Warhol print and the “Proverb” sculpture by Mark di Suvero. During the non-summer months, resident organist provides a soothing soundtrack to your visit.
Dorti | ShutterstockMcKinney Avenue Transit Authority Trolley |
Step into a blast from the past with an old-school ride on the M-Line trolley. The free trolley traverses the uptown area and links it to downtown, giving a delightful tour of the neighborhoods on an authentic streetcar system. Let the Texas breeze blow in through the windows and examine the genuine trams that were built in the early 1900s. Hop on and hop off as you please to do a little window shopping and dive into the local restaurants for a well-deserved bite.
Public ArtWalk Dallas | Let the art be your guide through this 3.3 mile route. The instillations have turned downtown Dallas into an interactive gallery. Free and self-guided, you’ll want to pick up a map to explore this collection of urban art. Highlights along the way include the Main Street Garden and SpectraScape, a series of lights found around the Garden that makes it viewable at night and responds to human movement. Make your way to the real staples of the journey though, the Nasher Sculpture Garden and the Dallas Museum of Art.
The Dallas Museum of Art is one of the most high-caliber institutions in the city, taking you around the world and back again with its exhibits of fine art. There are more than 22,000 works of art that span 5,000 years, with the Spanish Colonial section being a real stand-out.
JPMorgan Chase Tower |
Climb to the top of Chase Tower to be greeted with arguably the best view of Dallas. The architecture is a signature element of the skyline, with its curved roof and predominant presence standing at 55 stories tall. While it’s amazing to look at, the sight is even better gazing out. Ride the elevator to the top floor and see Dallas sprawling out before you.
Bath House Culture Center | This free museum is a fun insight into the history of Dallas and its surroundings, with insights on the wildlife in the surrounding White Rock Lake Park and the tales of Dallas’ storied past.
Its setting itself is a must-see attraction, White Rock Lake Park earning the moniker as “Urban Oasis.” It’s the location of a reservoir and World War II training camp, all best seen from the 9.33-mile hike and bike trail. The Park may be where Mother Nature rules, but inside the art deco-style Cultural Center is where manmade masterpieces are showcased. The Center houses a 116-seat black-box theater, three gallery spaces and the White Rock Lake Museum.
Dallas Farmers Market | Try the best in farm-fresh foods at the Market. It’s one of the largest open-air markets in the country and specializes in crops that come directly from the field and to the booth for you to buy. If you’re not in a purchasing mood, come for the atmosphere and stay for the free samples.
John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza
| In 1963 history changed forever when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. In his memory a monument stands, the John F. Kennedy Memorial designed by his family friend Phillip Johnson. The concrete-walled structure was made open-roofed to represent an open tomb.
The white columns rise 30 feet high, appearing almost to float above the earth. At the top of each column is a light fixture, creating the illusion at night that nothing but light suspends the structure into the air. The fixating piece is meant to embody the magnetism and spirt of the Kennedy himself. Visitors can enter the room, where the only words within it are John Fitzgerald Kennedy carved in gold.
While the Plaza is intended for quiet reflection, The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza expands on the events of that day. There is an admission charge, but many consider it a worthy price to pay for the opportunity to learn about the series of events that changed a country. You can even gaze out the exact window Lee Harvey Oswald did to fire a gun upon JFK’s motorcade.
Observation Area |
Give Dallas a proper goodbye by visiting the Observation Area in Founders’ Plaza at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. You can eavesdrop on the audio from the control tower and get an up close and personal view of the planes landing and taking off.
Do you have a serious case of wanderlust that needs fixed ASAP? Dallas is one of The 9 Best Last-Minute U.S. Trip Destinations.
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